Pictured are Highland County commissioners David Daniels, left, and Terry Britton. (HCP Photo/Caitlin Forsha)
Pictured are Highland County commissioners David Daniels, left, and Terry Britton. (HCP Photo/Caitlin Forsha)
Highland County commissioners Terry Britton and David Daniels approved an architectural services contract for a new animal shelter on North Shore Drive and discussed the county’s economic development partnership during their first regular meeting of the year Wednesday, Jan. 12.

Commission president Jeff Duncan was absent due to illness. Duncan and Britton voted, 2-0, to excuse his absence.

During an eight-minute meeting, commissioners voted 2-0 to authorize a contract with DS2 Architects, LLC for the proposed new, approximately 6,000 square foot animal shelter building on North Shore Drive.

As previously reported, the commission voted in August to approve a contract with DS2 in the amount of $16,500 for a “possible upgrade” to the animal shelter. Commissioners reviewed initial drawings for the proposed facility and made some adjustments to the design plans during their Dec. 22 meeting.

Commissioners said during that meeting the proposed new shelter could house animals from both the Highland County Dog Pound and Highland County Humane Society, although they would remain separate entities. Daniels told The Highland County Press Thursday that official plans to house animals from both facilities have "not formalized or finalized," but both parties are "agreeable" to considering the proposal.

The tentative layout plan as discussed in December included a 36’x40’ front section of the building, which would include a reception area; adoption/play room; offices; a restroom; an exam room; and a mechanical room. The center section has space for 40 kennels with “doggy doors and outside access” to dog runs, with the back section proposed to have a cat room, a puppy room and a storage room.

The contract with DS2 Architects approved Wednesday includes site design services; building drawings; bidding of the project; and construction observation.

For more information on the proposed shelter, see the story at: https://highlandcountypress.com/Content/In-The-News/In-The-News/Article/Commissioners-review-design-plans-for-new-animal-shelter-pass-2022-budget-resolution/2/20/74812.

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Also during Wednesday’s meeting, commissioners thanked local municipalities for their continued commitment to an economic development partnership with the county.

As previously reported, the commission, in conjunction with local municipalities and the Chamber of Commerce, announced the hiring of Julie Bolender as county economic development director in May 2021. Daniels said that the department is “for Highland County,” to work in conjunction with all of the county’s municipalities.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Daniels pointed out that last year’s announcement fell “in the middle of everybody’s budget cycle.” However, he noted that the city of Hillsboro and village of Greenfield have made a financial commitment to the department for 2022.

“Over the course of the last several months, the [village] of Greenfield has made a commitment to working with us financially in 2022 as we begin to work down through a workforce development center,” Daniels said. “The city of Hillsboro has appropriated funds within their budget to help with the cost of running that department.”

The aforementioned workforce development center was announced in November. According to Bolender, the center will be housed in the the Jefferson Street Business Center and open to residents and businesses in the county.

Daniels thanked the municipalities for their partnership with the economic development department over the past eight months.

“The idea was that we have a partnership between everybody,” he said. “We just want to thank them for their participation with us and think things are going well.”

“This just shows that they’re all in, as far as our economic development partnership,” Britton added. “My thanks to them, and I’m sure Jeff would say the same thing.”

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Along with the DS2 Architects contract, commissioners approved five other contracts, including 2021 County Highway Mileage Certification for the engineer’s office; a lease agreement between the Highland County Historical Society and the Highland County Commissioners; an amendment an operating agreement with Aramark for food services; and two contracts with Greystone Systems Inc., for the Highland County Clerk of Courts and Clerk of Courts’ title office, respectively.

“Ike [Hodson, clerk of courts] is doing some work out there for his systems, so he’s got these contracts in for us to approve,” Britton said.

In other action, commissioners approved the following resolutions, each by a 2-0 vote:

• A transfer from County, Transfers Out, to EMA W-75 in the amount of $30,000 for per capita match.

• A blanket resolution to cover all travel of Recorder Chad McConnaughey to all state and district meetings as deemed necessary for 2022.

• A resolution authorizing the Highland County Engineer to establish an alternative schedule of vacation leave and holidays for employees of the appointing authority for whom the state employment relations board has not established an appropriate bargaining unit pursuant to section 4771.06 of the Revised Code.

• A resolution authorizing the Engineer to use the existing county employee forces and proceed by “Force Account” in the construction, reconstruction, improvement, maintenance or repair of roads, bridges and culverts as determined by the County Engineer in Highland County during 2022.

• A blanket resolution to cover all travel of Christopher Fauber, P.E., P.S., Highland County Engineer, to meetings for 2022.

• A request for an additional appropriation of funds from unanticipated revenue with A-00 in the amount of $14,395.01.

• A request from Juvenile Court for a budget modification within M-00 Youth Services in the amount of $17,200.

• A request from Probation for a budget modification within T-33 Community Control in the amount of $3,978.56.

• A request from the Treasurer for a budget modification within Y-20 DETAC-Treasurer in the amount of $2,000.

• A request for reimbursement of funds from Public Children Services Fund S-03 to Public Assistance H-00 in the amount of $300,000 for shared cost reimbursement.

• Commissioners also voted 2-0 to authorize the execution of a subordination of mortgage for Gary Schlueter and Scott Burdorf.

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Not discussed during the meeting, but included on the agenda, were several items of correspondence received since the commission’s last regular meeting Dec. 22.

• Commissioners received notification from AEP Ohio regarding a proposed transmission line adjustment project in the area of U.S. 62 and Wildcat Road and U.S. 62 and Nace Road.

• Jason Rafeld, executive director of the Utility Scale Solar Energy Coalition of Ohio, offered resources regarding Senate Bill 52. (As previously reported, the commission has already passed a resolution in response to that legislation. For more, go to: https://highlandcountypress.com/Content/In-The-News/In-The-News/Article/Highland-County-commissioners-adopt-resolution-for-solar-development-policies-discuss-2022-budget/2/20/74183.)

• Thrive Peer Recovery Services sent recommendations on American Rescue Plan Act allocations.

• A handwritten letter was submitted asking commissioners to tax or fine area organizations alleged to have been “avoiding taxes.”

• Commissioners received an email asking for an update on the county’s response to the proposed scenic waterway designation for Paint Creek.

• Commissioners received a copy of a motion for default judgment of an expedited tax foreclosure order to direct transfer and summary for a Wizard of Oz Way property.

• A volunteer with Friends of the Highland County Dog Pound sent feedback on the proposed new animal shelter facility.

• Commissioners received a letter from the new southwest Ohio representative for Ohio811 (“call before you dig”).

• Highland County Recorder Chad McConnaughey sent an annual notice to commissioners and to township trustees regarding county and township zoning resolution and amendment laws.

• Medical Mutual of Ohio submitted the annual notification of the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998.